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Ecuador Says Conditions Met For WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange To Leave Embassy In UK

Julian Assange has repeatedly expressed fear that Britain would extradite him to US to face charges there

Quito: 

Ecuador’s president said Thursday that conditions have been met for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to leave the country’s embassy in London, which would end a six-year standoff with British authorities.

“The way has been cleared for Mr Assange to take the decision to leave in near-liberty,” President Lenin Moreno told reporters, explaining that he still had to answer in Britain for violating the terms of his bail. 

Moreno, however, said Britain had guaranteed that the 47-year-old Australian would not be extradited to any country where his life would be in danger.

Assange, who gained international renown by publishing huge caches of hacked State Department and Pentagon files, has repeatedly expressed fear that Britain would extradite him to the United States to face charges there.

US prosecutors last month inadvertently revealed the existence of a sealed indictment against Assange, according to WikiLeaks, but it was not known what the actual charges were.

Assange took refuge in the Ecuadoran embassy in London in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning in two alleged cases of sexual assault.

Sweden has since dropped that case, and Ecuador says there are no pending extradition requests against the WikiLeaks founder.

“The British government sent us an official communication indicating that the constitution of Great Britain bars extradition of a person to a place where his life would be in danger,” Moreno said.

That could be an issue in the case of the United States because it has the death penalty.  

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Kremlin Should Take The Lead On Rap Music, Not Shut It Down, Says Russia President Vladimir Putin

Putin also addressed a question on how to regulate the musical genre’s use of censorious language. (File)

Moscow: 

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday the Kremlin should play a leading role in Russian rap music and in youth culture, rather than trying to shut it down.

His comments follow a spate of concert cancellations by venue owners and local authorities across Russia and the brief arrest of a popular rap artist, Husky. The crackdown has sparked considerable discussion in recent months, especially among young people.

Putin said such heavy-handed measures were often counterproductive, and suggested an alternative approach.

“If it’s impossible to stop something, you’ve got to take charge of it,” he said during a live broadcast of a meeting of his advisory council on culture and the arts.

“How to do this, how to take charge and guide in the necessary direction… That’s the most important issue,” he said, adding that the question would be discussed further by members of his administration and the culture ministry.

Husky, who raps in Russian and whose songs have at times been critical of the government, said his concerts were under pressure because authorities objected to lyrics they found offensive.

After his concert was cancelled in Krasnodar, in southern Russia, he tried to perform from the roof of a car instead, leading to his arrest for hooliganism.

His arrest and sentence to 12 days imprisonment led to a public outcry and the rapper was released early, thanks to the intervention of members of the presidential administration, the editor of state broadcaster Russia Today said on Twitter.

Putin on Saturday was responding to a statement about rap concert cancellations made by music producer and member of the advisory council Igor Matvienko. Among other suggestions, Matvienko proposed creating a parental advisory guidance system for concerts.

Addressing Matvienko, Putin said, “You said that rap (rests on) three pillars: sex, drugs and protests. Of all of these, drugs are the most worrying,” Putin said. “They are the route to a nation’s degradation.”

Putin also addressed the question of how to regulate the musical genre’s use of censorious language.

He said that he had talked about swearing with a linguist.

“She told me personally that it’s a part of our language. It’s just a question of how you use it,” he said.

Matvienko also suggested guidelines on the use of swear words online and in the media, but Putin said this was a sensitive matter as such words are part of Russians’ common culture.

Likening swear words to body parts, Putin joked: “we have all sorts of body parts, and it’s not like we put them on display all the time, whether it’s hot or cold.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)







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Interior Secretary To Leave In Latest High-Profile Exit, Says Trump

Ryan Zinke has come under scrutiny for his use of security details.

Washington: 

Donald Trump said Saturday that his interior secretary will be leaving soon — the latest in a series of high-profile departures from an administration beset by turnover and alleged ethical failings.

“Secretary of the Interior @RyanZinke will be leaving the Administration at the end of the year after having served for a period of almost two years,” Trump wrote on Twitter, highlighting the fact that Zinke’s tenure was substantially longer than that of some other former top officials in the administration.

“Ryan has accomplished much during his tenure and I want to thank him for his service to our Nation,” the president said, adding that a replacement would be announced next week.

The interior secretary is responsible for overseeing conservation and mineral extraction on public land that, if stitched together, would be larger than Mexico.

But Zinke has been the target of a number of ethics investigations, making him a lightning rod for complaints from Democrats, who expressed no regrets over his impending departure.

“Ryan Zinke was one of the most toxic members of the cabinet in the way he treated our environment, our precious public lands, and the way he treated the govt like it was his personal honey pot,” said Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer.

“The swamp cabinet will be a little less foul without him.”

Spending, Ethics Probed

Zinke, a former Montana congressman, was the subject of various investigations linked to his real estate holdings in his home state and his actions in office.

Along with Trump’s first environmental protection chief Scott Pruitt — who resigned in July amid a series of scandals over ethical lapses and lavish spending — Zinke helped spearhead a presidential push to sharply relax environmental regulations and expand energy production.

The Zinke announcement came just a week after another impending high-profile departure — that of Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly — was made public.

Trump on Friday tapped Mick Mulvaney — the director of the Office of Management and Budget — to serve as chief of staff on an acting basis, setting him up to be the third person to hold the post since the president took office in early 2017.

A series of other top officials have left the Trump White House, including a secretary of state, two national security advisors and an attorney general, as well as Pruitt.

Zinke is one of several members of Trump’s cabinet to come under fire over expenditures, including reports that his department was spending nearly $139,000 to upgrade three sets of double doors in his office — a cost he later said he negotiated down to $75,000.

Riding With Pence

He had been the subject of some 15 investigations, including one for allowing his wife to ride in government vehicles and another for taking a security detail with him on a vacation trip to Turkey, according to The Washington Post.

He has also faced criticism over costly US Park Police helicopter flights last year that allowed him to return to Washington for a horseback ride with Vice President Mike Pence, and several other flights on non-commercial aircraft.

Zinke, a former Navy SEAL who wore cowboy boots to the office and carried himself with a Western swagger, seemed to emulate Trump when under fire, lashing back rather than retreating.

Last month, when a Democratic congressman said it was time for new leadership at the Interior Department, Zinke suggested in a tweet that his critic had a drinking problem.

“It’s hard for him to think straight from the bottom of the bottle,” he wrote, a comment that many in Washington thought crossed a line.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)







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Egypt Unearths 4,400-Year-Old Tomb Of Top Ancient Priest

The tomb is decorated with scenes showing the royal priest alongside his mother, wife: Official

Cairo: 

Egyptian archaeologists have discovered the tomb of a priest dating back more than 4,400 years in the pyramid complex of Saqqara south of the capital Cairo, authorities said on Saturday.

“Today we are announcing the last discovery of the year 2018, it’s a new discovery, it’s a private tomb,” antiquities minister Khaled el-Enany told an audience of invited guests including reporters.

“It is exceptionally well preserved, coloured, with sculpture inside. It belongs to a high official priest… (and) is more than 4,400 years old,” he said.

The tomb belongs to “Wahtye”, a high priest who served during the fifth dynasty reign of King Neferirkare, the antiquities ministry said.

His tomb is decorated with scenes showing the royal priest alongside his mother, wife and other members of his family, the ministry said in a statement.

It also contains more than a dozen niches and 24 colourful statues of the cleric and members of his family, it said.

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It also contains more than a dozen niches and 24 colourful statues of the cleric

In November archeology officials announced the discovery in Saqqara of seven sarcophagi, some dating back more than 6,000 years, during excavation work started in April by the same archaeological mission.

Three of those tombs contained mummified cats and scarabs.

The Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo is home to the famous Djoser pyramid, a more than 4,600-year-old monument which dominates the site and the country’s first.

The tomb, built by the master architect Imhotep for the Pharoah Djoser, stood 62 metres (203 feet) tall originally and is considered the oldest building in the world built entirely of stone.

 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)







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